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Oppn leaders' presence at Ayodhya may have placed them in role supporting PM: Tharoor

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Kolkata, Jan 27 (PTI) Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Saturday asserted that the presence of opposition leaders at the consecration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya could have relegated them to a supporting role in a programme which, he claimed, belonged to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Supporting the Congress leadership’s decision to skip the January 22 event, Tharoor expressed willingness to visit the temple after the general elections are over when all the political focus on the shrine dies down.

"The Congress' position is very very clear. The Congress party members are free to have their own religion and religious beliefs, and everyone's religion is respected by the party. So I go to temples to pray, and not to political events," the Thiruvananthapuram MP said here.

"This particular event (consecration of Ram temple) was essentially going to relegate the opposition invitees to a kind of supporting role for a prime ministerial starring spectacle. I did not think that Congress needed to play such a supporting role," he told reporters.

Senior Congress leaders including party president Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have 'respectfully declined' the Ram Temple consecration ceremony invite.

Tharoor further emphasised that people should understand that the BJP has no monopoly on either Lord Ram or any of the Hindu deities. PTI SCH NN

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